Friday, April 15, 2016

Amazon and eCommerce: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576The biggest news this week is the round of manual actions sent out by Google, mostly to bloggers, about unnatural outbound links. But our communities have also been interested in discussing how eCommerce stores and Amazon interact.

One of our posters on Threadwatch has picked up a neat study about Amazon ranking factors from Ripen eCommerce, and on SEO Chat users are talking about how an eCommerce site that also sells through Amazon can optimize itself.

And of course we’ve got some great reading about accessibility from Cre8asiteforums!

Here are this week’s hot scoops:

New Round of Google Sending Out Bad Linking Notices

As early as last Friday, April 8, Google began sending out a series of manual actions. Most of them went to bloggers in the crafts, food, and home decor areas, and all of them were for “unnatural outbound links.”

As WebmasterWorld mod Robert Charlton posted,

“This is all about manual penalties for not using the nofollow tag on certain kinds of posts…”

Or, as user aristotle puts it,

“If they’re unnatural outbound links from one site, then they must be unnatural inbound links to the site that the links point to. In other words, the companies that provide these links and services to be reviewed are essentially trying to buy links, and are therefore just as ‘guilty’ as the people who do the reviews.”

If you’ll remember, almost exactly a month ago, Google warned bloggers that they needed to be nofollowing promotional or sponsored links and disclosing which reviews were paid for.

Well, for those that didn’t listen, this manual action was sent out. Our sharp community members are debating why Google has made this move in the link above – give it a read!

How to Deal With Low Quality Content

Sometimes you look at a site and you have to be honest with yourself – you know what content is low quality. So what do you do with it? In this thread from WebmasterWorld, a user writes that they have a site with some “low quality news” content.

“News are not scraped, it’s original content but a high percentage of them [are] duplicated (very similar content in different news), most of the news are promotional, no real value to them.”

The thing is that the low quality content comprises 50% of the site. User aristotle writes that,

“I agree that this news section should be eliminated from the site. But keep in mind that it’s a major change to suddenly delete almost 50% of the pages…”

User martinibuster suggests axing the content and starting over. If it can be done better, why not?

“I don’t believe it’ll cause a negative outcome to remove a large section of a site. Google ranks pages not websites,” martinibuster writes. What do you think?

How Does Amazon Rank Products?

Ripen eCommerce has come out with a new study about Amazon’s internal search ranking factors. You can get a link to the full study and some bullet points from Search Engine Land in this Threadwatch link.

“Interestingly,” writes our Threadwatch poster, “shipping and selling through a third party but listing on Amazon seemed to have a negative correlation with ranking power.”

And what’s the strongest positive correlation? Why, sales of course! A product’s Amazon sales ranking showed “the single strongest correlation,” according to the study. If you’re interested in discussing Amazon rankings or sharing your experiences, you can find a discussion thread about the topic on SEO Chat as well!

Optimizing ECommerce Sites With Amazon

Here’s another interesting eCommerce/Amazon thread! SEO Chat user ryandiscord writes that they’re

“…working on a site that is currently feeding identical product descriptions to Amazon. I believe it is creating a duplicate content issue for the site.”

But he also wonders if any research or experience can be shared about such topics. Chedders shares his thoughts:

“…this is just my personal opinion…but I believe Google came out with this whole duplicate content issue to combat screen scraping sites and the whole sharing articles for boosting content… It makes perfect sense though for a manufacturer’s product descriptions to be duplicated and so far in my small world I have not heard of anyone getting a penalty for this.”

And, truly, on SEO Chat we get many eCommerce webmasters wondering how to combat their own duplicate content. But in their corner of the world, it seems hardly malicious.

This thread tackles that issue, but it has plenty of room to open up for broader Amazon and eCommerce concerns. Throw your hat into the ring, why don’t ya?

Accessibility is Huge! Are You On Board?

Kim Krause Berg over at Cre8asiteforums recently introduced Joe Dolson,

“one of the part time volunteers dedicated to making WordPress…more accessible,”

at a Google Hangout! The Hangout’s topic was on ARIA. Not sure what that is? Well, that’s part of the presentation! One thing’s for sure – accessibility is a huge industry and an essential part of web development.

You can watch the video or browse a pdf full of accessibility and ARIA related resources in this thread!

Google Matched Content – Does It Hold Water?

Sadly the answer seems to be “No,” according to Cre8asiteforums users Robert_Paulson and EGOL. Google’s Matched Content widget is a tool that tries to encourage viewers to explore more of your content by matching ads for your content with pictures. The pictures, sadly, look sort of horrible.

“Initially I thought the pics that were being pulled were spectacularly relevant, until I scrolled past the 1st page or two of links…then it looked a bit like spam,” writes Robert_Paulson.

EGOL agrees:

“I tried it. It sucked. The photos it selected and cropped actually got worse over time.”

Robert_Paulson is still holding out hope that the widget will improve. What are your experiences?

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